Monday, December 31, 2018

Welcome to Creole Cookin' Libby

Hello y'all I'm Libby and I miss my home town New Orleans. I miss it's comfort and its food. Together we're gonna help me return from time to time by sharing the recipes I was brought up on. There is always a good story (that goes w/most situations) in the South. Here is the lore I was told regarding the first recipe I'm sharing. A meal of Jambalaya I made for a supper at my church. Part of what I was told, due to necessities, certain dishes were made on particular days. I only remember Mondays, Fridays and Saturdays. Monday was Red Beans and Rice, Fridays Shrimp Creole; I'll tell you a bit mo 'bout dat when I cover those recipes.

This is what I was told about Jambalaya. Since there wasn't a good way to preserve foods (no refrigeration) and one didn't want their efforts (cookin',gatherin' and such) nor food go to waste; Jambalaya became Saturday's meal.  (the ultimate left over meal)  Maybe a bit of sausage, chicken, pork might be tossed in. There was always rice. (We put rice w/everything!)

There is confusion between Creole and Cajun and subsequently their foods. I'll try to break it down as best as I can. Creole is a full-flavored cuisine of refined European settlers in New Orleans (the best of the French, Spanish and African cuisines) Creole cooking relies on the culinary “trinity" consisting of chopped green bell peppers, onions and celery. Creole dishes typically use more butter, cream and tomatoes than Cajun dishes. A famous dish of Creole origin is Etouffee (a spicy and delicious stew traditionally made with crayfish (crawfish) shrimp and a dark roux; look for further roux description in the gumbo recipe)

The French word etouffee means smothered. Cajun is the  country-style cooking of the descendants of the French Acadians (known as Cajuns). Cajun cooking uses a dark roux as the base of many dishes and it relies on the culinary “trinity”as well. Many Cajun dishes are spicier than Creole dishes. One more famous dish of Cajun origin is Jambalaya (a rice dish that contains the trinity, tomatoes and various meats, poultry and/or seafood; as I said, the ultimate left over meal)

Justin Wilson (I knew as a humorous story teller, the rest of the country knew him as a Cajun cook on PBS that told stories) once told a story while demonstrating a recipe said he was asked once "How could you tell a Cajun?" His answer was (after some thought) "If a man can walk up to a field of rice and can tell you with in two tablespoons how much gravy or sauce it'll take to cover it, he's a Cajun!"

Sometimes there may or may not have been Shrimp Creole left over & that's why the difference between the two styles of Jambalaya brown or red. (Shrimp Creole being made w/tomato) Y'all may be confused as to the published date of this intro; I have set this blog up with the intro as a landing page so one can go from recipe to recipe quickly. Otherwise, there would be a long trek to the end of the line as in a comet. (where I don't like to be end of the line that is)

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